MOST fans at ringside were surprised to see Alvin Pasaol do well for University of the East in the Red Warriors' maiden win over Lyceum in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup on Wednesday afternoon.
Derrick Pumaren wasn't.
“I expected that,” said the veteran UE coach after seeing his recruit from Holy Cross of Davao College score 17 points to go with seven rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block in the 91-75 win over the Pirates.
Pumaren has high hopes for the Samal City, Davao Del Norte native, confident he can make the same impact for the Warriors as Edson Batiller, a player from General Santos who made waves for the team in the last UAAP season.
The 6-3 wingman was highly-recruited by other UAAP teams since last year but chose to play for UE, thanks to the pitch made by Pumaren who went all the way to Davao to talk to the player and his parents.
“When I recruited him sa Davao, most of the schools were trying to recruit him but fortunately, napunta sa amin," said the PBA champion coach. "They were saying na malaki ang offer sa kanya ng iba but ang approach namin sa kanya pati sa parents niya is he is here to study.”
Pumaren is no doubt impressed with the 21-year-old, raving about his nice touch and deceptive mobility and spring that are rare for his size.
“I know he can score, he can hit outside shots, he is consistent. Akala mo mataba na medyo mabagal pero he is always there especially sa rebounds. Hindi ganun kataas tumalon pero he’s always there,” said Pumaren.
"I know what he can do. I expect a lot from him."
Pasaol is looking forward to his UAAP debut, saying he is looking to meet UE's expectations.
“Maraming kumukuha sa akin pero malaki ang tiwala ko kay Manong Derrick,” said Pasaol. “Linalaro ko lang ‘yung laro ko. Sabi nila, dapat ibigay namin ‘yung best namin.”